CHERRY DROP CLAFOUTIS
Clafoutis is a classic French dessert that originates in the Limousin region, in the South Centre of France. It is also one to spark constant debates about an essential question: whether or not to remove the cherries' pips. Purists believe that pips enhance the dish's flavour, whilst others simply see it as an unpractical to eat. In this recipe, I set myself the mission to put this debate to an end, and create a delicious flavourful clafoutis, with no pips, but also one that wouldn't turn completely pink.
My secret? Agar Agar. A gelifying powder that resists high temperatures!
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Light Brown Sugar
4g Agar Agar
100g Caster Sugar
400ml Milk, (almond milk also works well)
1 Vanilla Pod
THE CHERRY DROPS
1. Cut your cherries in half and remove the pit, placing both in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract and the teaspoon of light brown sugar. Mix and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will help intensify the flavour of the cherries.
2. Discard the pit, place the cherries and juices in a blender and blitz for a few minutes until you have cherry juice.
3. Place the cherry juice in a small pan, add the Agar Agar on top and start whisking only once the mixture starts to boil. Stir for 2 minutes - any longer might make the cherry mixture less flavourful - and pour into small moulds. This is the one I used, as they resembled the shape and size of cherries (and are under £5!). Place in the freezer to enable them to cool quickly.
1. Butter thoroughly a 20-23cm dish.
2. Preheat your oven to 180˚C (if your oven tends to be quite powerful, lower the oven temperature to 170˚-160˚C and slightly lengthen the cooking time).
3. In a large bowl, crack the eggs and add in the sugar. Cut your vanilla pod length-wise in two and scrape the grains out using a knife. Add to the eggs and sugar and beat well.
4. Add the sieved flour, mix well and gradually add the milk until well combined.
5. Pour the liquid mixture into your buttered dish and bring close by to your oven door.
6. Take your moulds out of the freezer, and get your frozen cherry balls out. Place them delicately on top of your clafoutis mixture, until your dish is filled out with them. They will naturally float on top - which is a good thing!
7. Gently place your dish in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until risen and golden. If necessary, turn your dish 180˚ halfway through the cooking time to make sure it bakes evenly.
8. Once golden and set, take your clafoutis out of the oven and let cool completely before serving.